Renee Zellweger Camps and Vamps in a Zesty Role
     “My One and Only”, a lushly stylized comedy-drama set in the 1950’s, is based upon Hollywood icon George Hamilton’s autobiographical memoirs. Specifically, the film focuses on his unorthodox upbringing, courtesy of his eccentric family.  That family includes his father Dan Devereaux (Kevin Bacon), a successful musician; his blonde, glamorous mother Ann (Renee Zellweger); and his half-brother Robbie (Mark Kendall), a theater queen in the making. (When we first meet Robbie, he is wiping off the lipstick from having just played Lady Macbeth.  Soon afterward, he’s passing the time by doing needlepoint.  Hmmm…).  The all-star cast of colorful characters is excellent, especially young actor Logan Lerman as 15-year old George– but a soon as Ms. Zellweger as Ann sashays her way onto the screen, the actress steals the film. 
     “My One and Only” opens with Ann walking in on her husband in bed with yet another “other woman”.  While a boxer shorts-clad Kevin Bacon as Dan pleads unsuccessfully for Ann’s forgiveness, Ann cattily disses her husband’s latest floozy: “You really shouldn’t wear that color.  It makes you look like a tramp.  What am I saying?  You ARE a tramp!”   In a 1953 baby blue Cadillac Eldorado, Ann and her sons then leave New York for a coast-to-coast road trip where Ann is on a quest to find a new husband for herself and a new father for her sons. What she finds instead, city after city, is a series of losers and impossible romantic possibilities: among them a broke, on-the-verge-of-a breakdown ex-boyfriend (Steven Weber); a seriously menacing former military officer (Chris Noth); and a rich mensch  (David Koechner) who seems too good to be true (Spoiler: He is...).At one point, Ann suffers a particularly blowing humiliation (Apparently, an attractive woman ordering a drink by herself in a bar was a big no-no in the 1950’s.), and the trio is also running out of money.  Nevertheless, our plucky heroine keeps pushing along, determined to find her prince among the frogs.  Applying her makeup almost as if she’s putting on armor before a battle, Ann is still convinced that her sex appeal and determination will get her what she wants.
     At the heart of “My One and Only” is George’s Hamilton’s unique coming-of-age story.  Along the way, “My One and Only” emerges as a vivid, lively, and often very funny slice of 1950’s American life.  Stating with the opening montage of nifty fifties pop culture kitsch (with music to match),  the movie is nostalgic but always smart, and never heavy-handed or overly saccharine.  It’s also a reminder that behind the picket fences and stay-at-home mothers in aprons, the “good old days” weren’t as idyllic as we want to remember them.  Gay men will love Renee Zellweger’s often campy performance, but Zellweger’s Ann Devereaux is no caricature.  While she’s restless and a little crazy– and certainly not a candidate for Mother of the Year 1953– she’s also very smart and kind, and it’s impossible not to admire her determination.  It’s also impossible not to go ga-ga over her endless collection of fabulous fashion ensembles…
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